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Hummels will be far from the first player Bayern Munich have snared from a direct rival

Off The Ball
Off The Ball

18:24 28 Apr 2016

It is often said imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

And Bayern Munich's habit of often signing their domestic rivals' best players can be put under that "flattery" bracket.

Sometimes, it's Germany's current No 2 club Borussia Dortmund who bear the brunt of that and this time it is defender Mats Hummels who appears to have his eyes set on a move to Bavaria.

The World Cup winner actually came through the Bayern youth academy, having joined the club as a 6-year-old, before switching to Dortmund at the age of 20 in 2008.

But he will be far from the first to bridge Der Klassiker (German Clasico) divide in the other direction. Nor would it be the first time that Bayern have chosen to pick a key player from a domestic competitor.

 Michael Ballack

Bayer Leverkusen finished second in the Bundesliga, German Cup and Champions League in what could have become an extraordinary 2002 for the club.

But they suffered another blow in the summer of '02 when future Germany captain Michael Ballack joined Bayern Munich in a €12.9 million and immediately helped the Bavarians to the title. That wasn't all...

Ze Roberto

That same summer, another key Leverkusen player left the club for the direction of Bayern. Brazil international Ze Roberto joined the record German champions for €12 million, ensuring Leverkusen lost another key cog in their '02 team. And that wasn't all...

Lucio

Ze Roberto's compatriot Lucio did not leave Leverkusen in 2002 like the rest of his team-mates.

But two years later, the centre-back, who would go on to win the Champions League with Inter Milan in 2010, joined Bayern on a long-term deal. 

 Mario Gomez

The Germany centre-forward is a graduate of the VfB Stuttgart academy and scored 14 Bundesliga goals in the club's 2007 title-winning campaign.

The following two campaigns saw him score 19 and 24 goals respectively, before Bayern came in for Gomez in the summer of 2009 for about €30 million.

Stuttgart have since slipped from being a Top 6 regular to a lower mid-table side which admittedly was not caused by this transfer. 

Bremen's Tim Borowski, left, and Munich's Bastian Schweinsteiger challenge for the ball during the German first division Bundesliga soccer match between Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich in Bremen, Germany, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Tim Borowski

A Werder Bremen youth product, the midfielder who represented Germany at the 2006 World Cup on home soil played a part in Northern club's 2004 Bundesliga and German Cup double, at a time when the club were regular Champions League qualifiers.

But in 2008, Bayern came calling and signed him on a free transfer. It didn't work out for him, so he returned back to Bremen exactly one-year later.

Mario Gotze 

While there is talk of the attacking midfielder returning to Dortmund after an underwhelming spell at Bayern, there was a perception that he did burn a few bridges with the fanbase when he made the move to Munich in 2013.

His €37 million release clause-based transfer was confirmed in April of that year, a mere month before Dortmund were due to take on Bayern in an all-German Champions League final.

Although born in Bavaria, Gotze had come through the Dortmund academy ranks, thus making his transfer unpopular with the Borussia fans. 

He was apologetic in his celebration after scoring against his former club in November 2013:

Robert Lewadowski

A year after Gotze's transfer, the Poland striker joined Bayern on a free - a move that had been expected for months as he ran down his contract.

A key part of the Dortmund side which reached the 2013 Champions League final, he now delivers goals by the bucketload in the red of Bayern Munich.

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